Socialist Worker

Dangerous cop drivers

Issue No. 1696

Inside the system

Dangerous cop drivers

A HANDCUFFED man whose neck was broken when police took him on a "rollercoaster" drive in the back of a police van is suing Kent police for damages. Peter Rutherford and Richard Overy were travelling back to Kent from a night out in London in June 1997. They fell asleep, missed their stop at Tonbridge, and ended up in Margate. As it was too late to catch another train the two settled down to wait for the morning.

"It was a summer's evening so I decided to sleep in the station and wait for the early train home," says Mr Rutherford. But police arrived and soon changed all that. They arrested the two and put them in the back of a police van. Mr Rutherford was handcuffed. Police then drove in such a way that the two men were repeatedly thrown to the floor and against the van's metal grille. Despite the two calling for the police to slow down, the "rollercoaster" driving continued. Mr Rutherford arrived at Margate police station with his face dripping with blood. The van driver, PC Ian Hill, tried to persuade the police surgeon not to examine Mr Rutherford.

When he was eventually taken to hospital he had multiple neck fractures, a head wound needing ten stitches, bruising, a lost tooth and tinnitus. PC Hill has since been jailed for two years for assaulting Mr Rutherford and Mr Overy, and for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Another officer, PC Burgess, was also convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The high court is set to hear Mr Rutherford's claim for damages later this year.

PM in riot

HERE IS a scandalous tale of riot and wanton destruction in central London. It happened in 1894. Some 200 to 300 rowdy young thugs went wild in the Empire Music Hall in Leicester Square. They smashed a screen erected to separate the audience from the prostitutes who gathered in the bar. The young hoodlums then paraded in triumph around Leicester Square. The ringleader couldn't resist addressing the frenzied crowd. His name? Winston Churchill.

TESCO'S "Value" product range isn't always what it claims. It has been selling 1.5 kilogram bags of "Value" carrots for 69p. That works out at 46p per kilo. Right next to this you can buy loose carrots-at 36p a kilo.

Prosecutor shows heart

THE US state of Arkansas executed a mother last week who tried to commit suicide after killing her two children. Chistina Riggs was sexually abused as a child and lived in poverty. But prosecutor Larry Jegley insisted that she was executed. He said, "She claims she was horribly depressed, she was overweight and she was a single mom, and she didn't have enough money. My response to that is, 'Welcome to America.' Plenty of folks are in far worse situations."

Woods won't cross

THREE CHEERS for black US golf star Tiger Woods. He was due to film a commercial last week for Nike, but faced a picket line when he turned up to the shoot. Actors are striking over pay arrangements for their work on commercials. Woods and his agent refused to cross the picket line, and the filming was cancelled.

What's in a word?

YOU CAN buy anything under capitalism-even a language, it seems. Algonquin Indians in the US are furious after a jewellery company won a court ruling banning them using their own language. The Algonquins call beads made of shells "wampun", and way back in the 1660s wampun beads were for a while the official currency of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

They still produce and sell the beads. But a jewellery company, Rounsville, has now registered "wampun" as a trademark for its own commercial products. In a court case recently the Algonquins were banned from using the term "wampun" to describe their own beads. "If the tribe wants the word back, they can buy it," was the hard-nosed attitude of the company.

McDonald's again

A WORKER sacked by McDonald's for giving food he had paid for himself to a Roma refugee is taking the company to an industrial tribunal. Remy Millet worked at a McDonald's in south west France. He used his lunch allowance to pay for cheeseburgers which he gave to a Roma refugee who came into the restaurant to beg.

Remy says he even asked for his supervisor's permission and thought the gesture would be positive for the company's image. He was shocked when he was sacked a few weeks later, and says a boss told him, "For the sake of McDonald's image, we do not give to Gypsies."

CAPITALISM is a dirty word, according to an international poll published in Poland. Half the people in Poland say the word "capitalism" has bad associations for them. In the former West Germany the figure was 58 percent and in former East Germany 63 percent. In Italy 51 percent of people agree capitalism is bad.

Things they say

"WE HOPE to learn the lessons from the problems over the London mayor count when we tackle our next project which is rather larger, the Chinese national census."

  • Spokesman for Data & Research Services, which ran the London count

"THE electorate hasn't changed its opinion of us since 1997. It has not forgiven us. It is absolutely clear the country still thinks of us as a grim lot."


"FROM the beginning I was treated as an outcast because I was a Geordie and not middle class. I was told soldiers were from the north and officers from the south. Because I spoke differently they thought I was thick."

  • ANGELA GOBIN, who says she was forced out of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst

"THE atmosphere of crisis at Longbridge and relief among the unions over its survival should enable management to push through changes and job cuts which would not have been possible under normal circumstances."

  • "PHOENIX INSIDER" to the Guardian on Monday

"WE BELIEVED a Labour government would bring some equity, but these hopes have not yet been realised. Party activists are finding little to take comfort from nationally and nothing to compensate locally. Not only is the message being delivered to the electorate being doubted, I doubt if I want to deliver it."

  • STEVE FREEBORN, beaten Labour candidate in Amber Valley

"ALAN IS a good worker and has never had a day off. He comes in and gets on with it, and if I had 100 people like him it would make the job easier."

  • TERRY LOWE, personnel manager at the furniture company where Alan McAlavey works. Alan was dubbed a "career anarchist" by the press when he was arrested and imprisoned after the London May Day protest

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Article information

Sat 13 May 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1696
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